Three 18-year old students who were arrested yesterday as suspects in the La Vernia High School sex scandal have been identified. John Rutkowski, Christian Roberts and Colton Weidner now join Alejandro Ibarra, 18; Dustin Norman, 18; and Robert Olivarez Jr., 17 as the six adult students who have been arrested. Seven minor students have also been charged bringing the total number of arrests to 13.
“There could be more arrests as the cases continue to develop,” said a source close to the investigation. “Some brave children, the victims, have come forth and helpful. We expect more. This is not over.”
According to the charge complaint filed by Texas Ranger Joel Kite, senior basketball players Rutkowski, Weidner and Roberts were arrested for second-degree felony sexual assaults with a juvenile against a 15-year-old student in February 2017. The victim cried and pleaded for help as the four attackers assaulted him with a flashlight, the complaint alleges. The attacked occurred in a private home off-campus.
“We’re lucky no one has died,” a source very familiar with the investigations said. “Some of the acts committed on these boys were unbearably dangerous.”
Norman, Ibarra and Norman were arrested for their alleged roles in sodomizing a 16-year-old teammate with the threaded end of a CO2 tank hose, also in a private home prior to a team banquet. The alleged attackers referred to the attack as his “initiation” into the football varsity team.
“These kind of accusations are the easiest to make and the most difficult to defend,” said San Antonio criminal attorney Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. Vera has successfully defended many sexual abuse cases in Texas and across the country. “It’s the only crime you can be accused of and people automatically think you are guilty and look down on you. It’s easy to accuse and you have a bad stigma placed on you. But unfortunately people will jump to conclusions.”
“Some of these boys may be completely innocent, but not many will give them the benefit of a doubt,” Vera said.
A federal lawsuit filed last week against LVISD administration officials and coaches contends that school officials allowed the hostilities to continue after being notified and made aware of them. The suit also indicates that “CHILD DOE,” the 16-year-old victim was sexually and physically abused multiple times throughout the 2015-2017 school terms because of the pervasive rape culture in the athletic program.
Earlier today, the Cabañas Law Firm of San Antonio accused LVISD for expelling Norman on March 31 without due process. He has been sent to the district’s alternative school in Floresville according to the firm.
Police continue to interview the victims and tips from citizens who may have knowledge of the sexual abuse of at least ten students. La Vernia, with a population of 1250, is located 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas.